Enid’s Story

The Enid Dowling Foundation prepares the youth of today to be tomorrow’s leaders, contributing to public service and professional life. The Enid Dowling Foundation aspires to reach out to young Queenslanders with the ambition to achieve in their chosen field and contribute to public service through additional study or skill attainment experiences. The Foundation will provide an annual Bursary to a successful applicant to achieve higher learnings or skills within Australia or internationally that will advantage the applicant, and ultimately the wider community. We seek the interest of young, committed and motivated LNP Members who meet the Bursary criteria to apply and compete for this significant opportunity when the Foundation calls for applications on 1 February each year. We reach out to you, and all people who are desirous of nurturing our talented young people, to donate to the Enid Dowling Foundation. A donor has the choice of providing a general contribution to the Foundation or funding the Bursary for one year in return for naming rights.

Enid Dowling’s life spanned from 1912 to 2007. She was born and educated in Sydney, achieving an Economics Degree from the University of Sydney at a time when it was not socially acceptable for women to pursue academic interests. It was not easy. She did secretarial work during the day and attended lectures and studied at night. It was during the Depression and she was unable to obtain time off from her work to sit examinations. She would therefore resign from that job and find another after the exams. Her pastime was equally unusual: sailing on Sydney Harbour with her brother.

In 1938, Enid Whiddon married Ron Dowling, a farmer in central western New South Wales. Her sense of public service and duty was evident early, with the inauguration of the Gumble Country Women’s Association which commenced a life time involvement with that organisation.

In 1950, the Dowling family moved to “Arlington”, a property at Tara, Queensland. This coincided with dynamic change in Queensland politics leading to the Nicklin / Morris Country Liberal Coalition Parties winning office in 1957 after 25 years in Opposition.
Coupled with her high sense of public service, Enid had a lively interest in politics. She embraced the new political momentum by accepting the challenge to contribute to the development of the Young Country Party which had been formed. Her aim was to foster interest in the political process but more importantly to mentor young people to acquire the skills and knowledge to aspire to public service or public office.

The Party elected her to the role of Supervisor and Liaison Officer.

She relished the role and over many years was instrumental in providing support and encouragement to many young people to become actively involved in the political process. 

It was fulfilling and rewarding. She engaged with young people in a political atmosphere exuding special warmth and understanding, enabling a wonderful rapport with them. She talked freely with them about their ambitions, their disappointments and their political aspirations.

Whilst Enid encouraged individual initiative and self-motivation, she believed that it was involvement in the various party units that provided young people with the most opportunity to develop the skills of debate, policy development, consultation and networking. She was a superb organiser and travelled extensively through the State, to conferences, meetings and rallies to ensure that young people were fully engaged and their voices heard.  

Over the years, her protégés went on to serve as Party Officials, Local Government Councillors, Mayors, Members of State and Federal Parliaments, Cabinet Ministers and Premiers. She was affectionately known as “Mrs D” and each attributed much of their success to her ongoing encouragement and support.

Enid’s home in Tara was open for meetings or gatherings. Captains of industry and state and federal cabinet ministers would be in attendance for the express purpose of speaking with the young people. At the time, this was quite revolutionary and the young people acquired a great grounding in the political process, politics and the private sector.

The Young Australian Country Party (QLD) honoured Enid Dowling with Life Membership in 1974 and in the following year, 1975, the National Party of Australia (Qld) followed also with Life Membership. Both of these awards were for mentoring, encouraging and supporting young people to become involved in the political process and to aspire to public service or public office.

Enid Dowling had other community interests. In 1977 she received the Order of the British Empire for being “unsparing of her time and talents, and numerous worthy bodies have benefited from her drive and enthusiasm in the cause of rural women”.
The State Council of the Young National Party in 1997 was desirous of establishing the Enid Dowling Foundation to honour her long-term commitment to mentoring young people to achieve. Political circumstances changed and the concept fell into abeyance, but the respect for Enid Dowling and her dedication to encouraging and supporting young people to strive and achieve remained alive in the minds and hearts of many.  

The Enid Dowling Foundation Bursary was established in 2012 to advance Enid Dowling’s values and her belief in fostering young people to have a sense of public duty, to be ambitious and strive for success in both their own and in all Queenslanders’ interests.